Fedora 11 was released in June featuring the new virt-manager 0.7 and I have to say that I think this is the first useful version. Like a lot of kvm users, I'm quite comfortable using scripts and command line for managing kvm virtual machines but when it comes to managing virtual machines on a large scale ( and even quite small ) , a well designed gui manager can make your life much easier. Since the release of Fedora11, I'll admit that I've been using the new virt-manager 0.7 exclusively for managing my virtual machines. I've only used command line for doing a few things, for example using base images for creating copy on write clones, otherwise known as “linked clones” to the ex-Vmware users out there. Most of the basic functionality needed for managing your kvm virtual machines is now encapsulated nicely in the new virt-manager 0.7.
I recall quite a few readers asking about usb support with kvm and virt-manager in the past so I decided to demonstrate how simple it is now ( compared to earlier versions ) to attach usb devices to your kvm virtual machines with the new virt-manager 0.7. There's still some work to be done but I think it's at the stage where a novice user can use this feature.
With your virtual machine running in virt-manager, highlight your vm and select “open”. You can do this either by right clicking on your highlighted virtual machine or clicking on the open button with your virtual machine highlighted.
Next, click on the “details” tab and select the “add hardware” button to the bottom left of the window.
From the dialog, select the hardware type of “Physical Host Device” from the drop down menu.
Now select the device type of “USB Device” from the drop down menu and select your usb device from the device drop down menu. Your attached usb device should automatically show up in this list.
Select Next and your usb device will now be attached to your virtual machine. You will see the “Finish Adding Virtual Hardware” window shown below.
From within your guest virtual machine you will now see the usb device attached. Below is a snapshot showing a windows XP guest after usb storage has been attached.
Detaching the usb device from your virtual machine requires a reboot so there's still some work that needs to be done here. First detach the usb device from within your guest virtual machine as you normally would.
Next, go to the details tab as described earlier, highlight the usb device and click on the “Remove' button on the bottom right of the details tab.
You'll get a prompt letting you know that a reboot is necessary in order for this to take effect.
I like what I'm seeing with the development of virt-manager. It's only at version 0.7 so there's still work that needs to be done but judging from the development roadmap you can expect to see lots of improvements to the interface in the near future.